MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A 40-year-old woman was awarded $410,000 in damages Thursday by a Hennepin County jury in connection with a sexual abuse case involving a former pastor with the Minnesota Annual Conference of United Methodist Church.
The awarding of damages ends a nine-year ordeal for Samantha Beach, who claimed that former pastor Donald Budd had inappropriate sexual contact with her at a church in Winona. The same jury awarded her $1 million in punitive damages at a court hearing on Friday.
Beach filed a complaint against the Minnesota Annual Conference as a result of the incident. The church then failed to properly investigate the incident, causing Beach to tape a phone conversation with Budd with the assistance of Winona Police.
As a result of that conversation, Budd pleaded guilty to two felony counts in connection with the inappropriate sexual contact with Beach.
During the investigation, the church chose not to suspend Budd and a church bishop told Beach not to attend the church where the abuse occurred.
A jury found that Budd was an employee of the Minnesota Annual Conference of United Methodist Church and not the specific church in Winona. It also concluded that the bishop failed to take reasonable action when it knew or should have known that abuse was taking place.